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Make your cars smart with a stick

Turning your old car into a smart car

At some point or the other, all of us have wondered if there was an easier way to keep a tab on the maintenance schedule of our cars. Are you tech-savvy and love your car as much as you love your phone?

Much like Chromecast made televisions smart, a wave of new technology is being developed to change the automotive world. While automobile technology has so far focused on making the car more habitable and vibrant, the impact of the Internet of Things (IOT) wave is going to bring a wave of change by connecting material goods that were previously considered ‘dumb’ but their utility is on the rise.

A device, which I like to call a ‘Smart-Stick’, will enhance the capabilities of your car with its multi-utility features. Vinli, is an innovative product, which is next in line of the technologies (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, GSM etc.) that are going to change the automotive world. Imagine how the world would be, if your old car was internet enabled, IOT enabled and can talk to you?

Welcome to the world of Smart Cars! In fact, some may go the distance to say that if you car isn’t smart and connected, you are in the past. But, are cars from the yesteryear dumb?

Not so! Most cars bought after the 90s come with the electronics which allow plugins to be connected. Devices seamlessly integrate with the car’s electronics system through the OBD port, which is common in most cars now.

There are a whole bunch of products from companies like Drven, Carlock, Automile, Hustlebox and Zene that are available and come in all shapes, colours and designs. The features they offer differ slightly, but the idea remains the same. To make the cars smart! And with a price tag of $100-$200, they don’t burn a hole into your pocket.

In terms of connectivity, some are WiFi enabled and others use GSM connectivity (3G & 4G LTE). Users can create hotspots and sync apps and data with all the devices through cloud. Most smart-sticks only have connectivity features such as GSM and Bluetooth and haven’t really evolved much and companies are just scratching the surface.

Other companies like Cargo, Fuse and Vinli have developed app-stores, from where, users can download their preferred applications for their cars. Keeping the platform open to developers would mean allowing flow of ideas and this helps to make cars even smarter and more efficient. Not to mention the integration with the in-car entertainment that allows endless streaming of videos and music, makes your journeys enjoyable, to say the least.

Imagine a scenario when you are driving on a highway and your car breaks down, your phone is not functional and you need assistance. What would you do? Would you rather go hitch-hiking? The safety feature of Vinli allows instant notification to the roadside assistance companies to locate your car and get help in a short time.

Also, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the device can report accidents or traffic violations to the law enforcement bodies? The world would be forced to drive with respect to the law and the roads would be much safer.

Given that the device has the sensors to detect an accident, the apps which could send information about the accident could help insurance companies would make the claims process easier. Also, integration with appropriate sensors, emission norms can be adhered to on the go!

It is not too long from now when the service station will hesitate to rip money off of you because you are aware of the conditions of your car. Gone will be the days when you worried if it was worth paying so much for the service! This allows your car to be diagnosed accurately and ensures longevity of parts.

With the addition of Head-up Display (HUD) feature which will be soon offered, the product will revolutionise the driving experience.

This is just a beginning and the possibilities are endless, no doubt. The capabilities to do much more with this smart-stick is only limited by the imagination of applications.

13 Comments

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  1. Wonderful article. Came to know about it the first time. I just have one question, how does it work? Internet? If it is implemented in the upcoming cars it would be great.

  2. Really nice article Suhas, some high end car companies have already incorporated this distress call feature. The days are not far where this will not be a luxury feature but a necessity.

  3. This is really attention-grabbing, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and stay up for in the hunt for more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  4. I liked your article. Utility for insurance company is note worthy.However, many of the things/technologies that you have shared are already things of the pas as automobile industry is moving very fast with assistance from IOT and other technologies. Automobiles are moving ahead on the customer experience, driver less cars and struggling with the adherence to the regulatory requirements as clear from the latest case of Volkswagen.

    • Thank you for the comment Karan. I intended this article to be focused only on the current scenario of “Smart Sticks” and the technology they come with. For most cars which are driven manually, this add-on will prove to be very resourceful and a cost-effective way to “Make your cars smart”.
      I totally agree that the technology with respect to cars have gone beyond our imagination and it is still a topic of debate on how IOT and Industry 4.0 will impact the automotive industry and the repercussions.

  5. This article seems very interesting. From the first stanza, I got filled up with the curiosity to read this article. Giving up the cars a special pinch for our generation is damn awesome. Cars, obviously is too main-part among the youths and they are ready to pay a bit or more for making their cars different with special features.
    Thank you Suhas for sharing your views and letting us know about this technology.

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